GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold resigns after sexual harassment allegations

Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) is resigning from Congress, he announced Friday in a statement.

Farenthold declared in December that he would not seek re-election in 2018 after reports emerged that he’d used taxpayer money to settle sexual harassment claims. A few of his GOP colleagues urged him to resign over the scandal. Farenthold has repeatedly denied the harassment allegations against him.

“While I planned on serving out the remainder of my term in Congress, I know in my heart it’s time for me to move along and look for new ways to serve,” he said in the statement.

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Farenthold used $84,000 in taxpayer funds to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit his former communications director, Lauren Greene, had filed in 2014, Politico reported in December. Greene accused Farenthold of telling her he had “sexual fantasies” and “wet dreams” about her, and then claimed she was fired after complaining to Farenthold.

“I had no idea how to run a congressional office,” the four-term congressman said in December. “As a result, I allowed a workplace culture to take root in my office that was too permissive and decidedly unprofessional.”

Farenthold said after the reports broke that he would repay the $84,000 to the Treasury Department, but has not made good on that promise. A representative for his office told HuffPost in February that the congressman was waiting to see what changes lawmakers will add to the Congressional Accountability Act.

“He is waiting on the advice of counsel to see what final bill is enacted,” Bob Haueter, Farenthold’s chief of staff, told HuffPost at the time. “Once the final bill is done and the law is changed and is complete and he can see that, he will make a determination of how he proceeds.”

  • Sara Boboltz contributed to this report.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.